Monday, January 25, 2010

Easy Desserts for a Crummy Day

The wind is whipping around the house, shaking trees and telephone poles, the rain is pouring down, and all I can think about is dessert. But, because my two-year old is "sleeping" (not really, but we both pretend and feel better for it), I can't go out to the grocery store, nor do I really want to: did I  tell you about the wind and rain?

So, I am left to get my sugar fix from what I can find in my cabinets. I pride myself on keeping a well-stocked cabinet, so I may have a leg up on a lot of you, but with a little binge-shopping the next time around, you, too, can have lots of un-necessities hanging around in your kitchen, just waiting for the perfect grey day to be made into greatness.

Chocolate-covered dried fruit

This is SO easy and really quite impressive.

1 package chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli bittersweet)
4 cups dried fruit (pineapple rings, mango, papaya, apple rings, banana chips are favorites)

Spread out a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler, stirring occasionally.

Using fingers or tongs, dip fruit pieces into chocolate, letting excess chocolate drip back into pan for a few seconds , and lay on waxed paper to dry. Allow a little space between pieces. Let dry completely, ~ 1 hour.

Hot chocolate

8 oz. milk
optional: 1 teas. vanilla
1 TBSP unsweetened chocolate powder
sugar to taste (or honey, demerara sugar, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc.)

Heat milk (and vanilla if using) until hot but not boiling. Whisk in chocolate powder and sweeten to taste.

Super Fudge

My mother made this a lot when I was growing up. I do not know where she got it but my aunt passed it along when I was pregnant with my first child and having a hard time gaining weight. It's a nice, healthy alternative to brownies.

1 cup honey
1 cup peanut butter or almond butter
1 cup carob powder (or chocolate powder)

Suggested additions
dried, shredded coconut
sunflower seeds
puffed rice or other small cereal
nuts, chopped small
dried cranberries

In a medium pot, warm honey and peanut butter until soft and well mixed, then add sifted carob powder.

Add additional ingredients to total 2 cups and mix well.

Grease a pie plate or 8x8 or 9x9 pan with at least 1 inch sides, with butter or oil. Put fudge in greased pan and into refrigerator. When it feels firm (it may already) cut into bite-sized pieces in pan. Cover with plastic wrap. It keeps for at least a week in the fridge and freezes well, too.